Hornets of the Pogrom

Written by: AB on 26/12/2008 03:28:52

Seeing as we still have a few days before we have to wrap up and call this a day (err, year), with a matching 2008 round up article to boot, I am gonna review a few death metal releases that I've had to hold back due to time constraints between now and New Years. Luckily, the albums I have in mind are top quality extreme music, so this means I'll be ending the year on a high, yay. The first in line is a brutal little beauty from death metal infantrymen Arghoslent, who has their own special take on the death metal sound. Enjoy.

Hailing from Virginia, USA, Arghoslent is a true underground death metal outfit. These guys have been around since 1990, but have just released their full length 3rd album, "Hornets of the Pogrom" (and by 'just released' I mean, 9 months ago...). Arghoslent has gathered quite some attention with each release, sadly not only on behalf of their unique take on traditional death metal, but rather because of the lyrics, and to some extent the band's ideology. You see, Arghoslent plays what they call "totalitarian death metal", with lyrical themes depicting the Holocoust, Trans-Atlantic slave trading, slavery etc. Some people argue that the band is merely depicting actual historical events in an objective way, others that this is blatant racism. To me, the actual lyrics aren't racist, however, after reading a couple interviews with the band, I can easily understand why someone who knows the band's thoughts and ideology could take the music as racism. However, this review shall not be about lyrical content - I'll rather let people jugde themselves, or just ignore the lyrics and enjoy the music. This is death growls after all; it isn't as if one can actucally understand what is being 'sung' most of the time!

So, unto the music then. Arghoslent is a stand up death metal band, but I've heard them descripted as brutal heavy metal, which in a way, is strangely fitting - these guys play death metal with what can best be characterized as heavy metal riffs. Pretty much going with mid tempo heavy metal riffing, they throw in some really deep vocals - a roar as much as a growl, which reminds me a little of the 'dragon vocal' of Septicflesh's Seth - then add a drop of thrashy drumming, and you get yourself some stupidly catchy death metal, with a sound that at first kinda reminds one of Dark Tranquility, but is actually still way more 'real' death metal than melodeath.

This is really guitar driven music, and, well, that rocks my cock, because axe handlers Pogrom and Holocousto (subtle names both!) really know their stuff! The riffs are really in all their traditional heavy metal-inspired glory to die for. Just listen to the chainsaw work in "Dog and Broom" which wouldn't have sounded out of place on an Iron Maiden album, or the fast guitar flashery in album closer "The Grenadier". Or, if you don't like growls, you'll still enjoy the title track, as it is purely instrumental, so as to really showcase the skill of the guitarists. Though not with as clear a jazz influence as some progressive death metal acts like, say, Pestilence or Atheist, these are also bands one can compare Arghoslent's guitar sound to. The title track is also good for some quality soloing - the solos are few in numbers on the album, but they are there, and, like the riffing, superbly executed. Give "The Nubian Archer" a few spins and I'll bet you'll agree with me!

Their sound is, as said, mid to fast tempo, and as such "Hornets of the Pogrom" isn't as divergent tempo wise as Arghoslent former (both excellent) works, which contained slower and especially a little faster songs. The general sound is very close to both "Galloping Through The Battle Ruins" and "Incorrigible Bigotry" - this is distinctly Arghoslent - but here on "Hornets", Arghoslent has refined their sound even more. Add to this a more tight instrument handling and some slightly better vocals than before, and this is a killer! The concept is really simple; mixing two distinct but relating genres (which we have seen countless times before, but never in this constellation really). So what do you get when you mix guitar based heavy metal with vocal obsessed death metal? Dark Tranquility? In Flames? No. Arghoslent! Hail Heavy Death Metal!

Download: Manacled Freightcage, Hornets of the Pogrom, In Coffles They Were Led, Swill of the Knaves
For the fans of: Iron Maiden mixed with Morbid Angel, Pestilence
Listen: MySpace

Release date 03.03.2008
Drakkar Productionsnull

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